Latest News – November 15

Dry Season Wears on, Fire Dept. Still Fighting

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor


Guys at the Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue teach fire prevention. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

It’s rare to consider wild and structure fires blazing in November, but this year has proven itself to be anything but typical. With still no considerable snow, Lake County and most of the state is as dry as it sometimes is in August. The effects of La Niña, a recurring weather phenomenon of cooling waters in the Pacific Ocean, are largely to blame. La Niña causes changes in the country’s weather patterns, similar to the effects, but to a lesser degree than her older brother, El Niño. While no fire ban is issued, there is a restriction on permits for prescribed burns, and people are urged to take caution in fire-building. The Lake County Office of Emergency Management issued this advisory on their Facebook page on November 8:

Continued low moisture in Lake County still causes a high fire danger risk. No fire burning permits can be used during this time and no new permits will be issued. The situation will be re-evaluated on Nov. 14.

While no fire ban is in place, everyone is highly encouraged to be careful, especially when camping and lighting campfires (in forest service provided rings). Please thoroughly put out any fire you start or you see burning unattended. It is extremely dry.


Capt. John Ortiz demonstrates the effects of spreading fire. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

On the issue of fire, Leadville looks to the Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue (LLCFR), who are prepared every day through summer and winter to respond when a fire breaks out, and who have been very active in 2016. Most recently on October 15, LLCFR held an informational open house and barbecue for National Fire Prevention Week at their station located at 816 Harrison Ave.

Chief Dan Dailey, Captain John Ortiz, Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal Steve Boyle, and the rest of the company opened up their big doors and welcomed the community in for cookout food and various demonstrations such as a burning table and the Summit Fire Authority Life Safety Trailer: a small mobile home that fills with smoke in a simulated fire scenario, where people learn how to safely navigate and escape. LLCFR was joined by the American Red Cross and Lake County Health and Human Services for the event.


Inside the Summit Fire Authority Life Safety Trailer. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

LLCFR has been actively engaged in the community this year, holding a celebration to welcome their brand new engine, participating in both Big Truck Night at the Center and the Saint Patrick’s Day Practice Parade, and in the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s annual Fill the Boot event.


There were games, give-aways, and good food at the LLCFR Open House, October 15. Photo: Brennan Ruegg/Leadville Today

LLCFR is also accepting applications until 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21 for their Resident/Reserve Program. This is an opportunity to work five 24-hour shifts a month, attend fire academy, and take classes at Colorado Mountain College toward an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science. For more information, and to apply, follow this link.

Learn more about what LLCFR does on their Facebook page or website, and drop a ‘thank you’ in the meantime for all their continued efforts and selfless service. Take caution when dealing with fire, at least until some serious snow flies–hopefully before Spring.


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Brennan Ruegg will be looking for snow in Ohio over Thanksgiving. E-mail him at


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